Tools for Teachers

Free Materials for PreK–12

Whether you’re searching for information on supporting students’ literacy skills or engaging in opportunities for professional development, the AFT’s educational issues department is here to help. Below, we highlight a few of our recent publications, which are all available for free.

ESSA 101

The reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act, formerly known as No Child Left Behind and now called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), is a long-overdue reset of the federal role in education policy. The new law paves the way for a public education system that is more focused on teaching and learning, and it gives states and educators more latitude in making policy decisions, while maintaining federal funding for the students who need it most.

The AFT has published two briefs to help you understand ESSA. The first covers the fundamentals of the law and why it matters. The second is a guide for stakeholders to use as they develop their state plans required under ESSA. It walks through key decision points, suggests guiding questions, and offers the AFT’s take on the choices to be made. A Q&A with Linda Darling-Hammond, president and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute, addresses several of the questions most commonly asked by our members.

For the two briefs and more resources on ESSA, click here.


“The Keys to Success,” a literacy series published by the AFT, is designed for parents of elementary and middle school students. Based on English language arts standards, it covers what children should know and be able to do in terms of reading, writing, and comprehension.

The series provides exercises students should be able to complete and suggests ways for parents to reinforce what their children are learning in school. Also included are links to websites with more information and resources, including videos, about the standards.

For this series and other literacy resources, click here.

Community Schools

Community learning centers. Full-service schools. Community hubs. Whatever the name, community schools make a difference in the lives of children, families, educators, and their communities every day. By moving beyond the normal confines of the school building and partnering with local stakeholders, community schools provide real solutions to the unique challenges of the students and families they serve.

For more on community schools and how to develop and sustain them, including case studies of successful ones, click here.

Professional Learning

The AFT has long recognized that the union’s responsibilities—and our members’ interests—go beyond the traditional issues of salary and benefits. Our educator members want to grow as professionals so they can better help their students and communities.

For information on the many professional learning opportunities the AFT offers, see our Professional Learning and You brochure.

For questions on any of these topics, or to request complimentary hard copies of our publications, e-mail us at


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American Educator, Summer 2017